In Our Own Words


In Our Own Words is a record of the most impassioned, inspirational, and infuriating orations ever given by Americans in this century. Featured here are the words of poets and politicians, artists and astronauts, scoundrels and sports heroes, Native Americans and Nobel laureates, soldiers and civil rights activists, humorists and hellraisers. The most comprehensive collection of American oratory ever assembled, In Our Own Words includes over 150 speeches, sermons, eulogies, radio broadcasts, courtroom pleas, fireside chats, public tributes, and commencement addresses.

Beginning on the eve of the twentieth century, this collection spans the Progressive Era, the Depression, two World Wars, the civil rights movement, McCarthyism, Vietnam, feminism, the Reagan years, and the technological revolution, bringing us right up to the threshold of the new millennium, The words of these men and women, known and unknown, challenged the conscience of this country, summoned the nation to wan brought down tyrants, paid homage to fallen heroes, gave a voice to the poor and oppressed, and energized the soul and spirit of America in its most desperate times.

To hear the voices of these extraordinary Americans once again or for the first time is to sit in the front row of the history of this century, decade by decade. We find both well-known and little-known speeches by the Roosevelts and the Kennedys, Mark Twain, General George S. Patton, Ronald Reagan, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Helen Keller, Billy Graham, Malcolm X, Clarence Darrow, Rachel Carson, Will Rogers, Betty Friedan, Orson Welles, Lou Gehrig, Jane Fonda, Carl Sagan, Jackie Robinson, Charlton Heston, Pearl Buck, Vince Lombardi, Elie Wiesel, and Duke Ellington. Over a hundred more visionaries and villains, leaders and preachers, radicals and revolutionaries tell the story of their age from their bully pulpits and convention halls, their soapboxes and podiums. These are the voices of our nation.

No other century could have produced such dramatic oratory.

No other collection could have captured it more powerfully.